So here’s the big thing going on in my work life right now: the libraries are gaining full-time hours.
A few years ago (I think it’s been six now), the county commissioners cut library funding so that each branch could only afford to be open 24 hours a week instead of 40. To ensure people still worked a full-time week, branches were paired. A team of librarians would work at two separate branches. When I was hired a year ago, I joined the Belmont/Lowell team, although I spend most of my time at Belmont simply because Lowell isn’t busy enough to need four librarians at a time.
Even after all these years, we have patrons complain. We’d be checking out their books and the would sigh, telling us that they simply can’t keep up with which days we’re open. We didn’t much like it either, to be honest, and at the Staff Development Day in February, the party line was “We hope the county commissioners give us our hours back. Maybe this is our year!” And you know what? It was.
(Our theory is that, after the scandal where the commissioners tried to pass a bill so they would have health insurance for life even after they were voted out of office, which had everyone angry, they were looking for some good press. Hence, our library budget being passed.)
So, yay. Libraries will be open 40 hours a week. Now what?
What I expected: to be promoted to a full-time position, maybe move to a different branch, but ultimately for the library’s growth to result in my own career growth.
I think, to some extent, we all expected that. One of my coworkers applied for a supervisor position. The other, however, was very happy in her position and expected to stay where she was. The main point is that this was something we, as a group, had been wanting for a while, so we, as individuals, expected it to be good for all of us.
In reality…it hasn’t been so great. At least not for me personally. I didn’t get the full-time position, and I’m being moved to a different branch. A lot of people are moving to different branches, which will be a lot for us to get used to. Patrons have complained about it also, saying that they’ve gotten to know us and like us and don’t want to come to a familiar place and see unfamiliar faces.
The actual changeover is in mid-October, but the chaos itself has already begun, bringing confusion and frustration to a lot of us. The positives could outweigh the negatives but, in the meantime, we’re losing people and morale.
All of this to say…sometimes what you thought you wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or maybe it’s because we only imagined the good side and never considered the obstacles. In a year, maybe this will be a vague memory and people will simply enjoy their full-time libraries.
I guess, in that case, we could consider this…chapter one.